Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt Sugar Fat, a powerful exposé of how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts, the emotions we associate with food, and legal loopholes in the name of profit over public health.
Everyone knows how hard it can be to maintain a healthy diet. But what if some of the decisions we make about what to eat are beyond our control? Is it possible that processed food is addictive, like drugs or alcohol? Motivated by these questions, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Michael Moss began searching for answers, to find the true peril in our food.
In Hooked, Moss uses the latest research on food addiction since the publication of Salt Sugar Fat to explore the science of addiction and uncover what the scientific and medical communities—as well as food manufacturers—already know: food can, in some cases, be even more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. Our bodies are hard-wired for sweets, so food manufacturers have deployed fifty-six types of sugar to add to their products, creating in us the expectation that everything should be cloying; we’ve evolved to prefer convenient meals, so three-fourths of the calories we get from groceries come from ready-to-eat foods. Moss goes on to show how the processed food industry—including companies like Nestlé, Mars, and Kellogg’s—has not only tried to deny this troubling discovery, but exploit it to its advantage. For instance, in a response to recent dieting trends, food manufacturers have simply turned junk food into junk diets, filling grocery stores with “diet” foods that are hardly distinguishable from the products that got us into trouble in the first place. With more people unable to make dieting work for them, manufacturers are now claiming to add ingredients that can effortlessly cure our compulsive eating habits. Where Salt Sugar Fat exposed the marketing trickery that food corporations use to ensare us, Hooked reveals the physiology and brain chemistry that leads us to become addicted to processed foods.
A gripping account of the legal battles, insidious marketing campaigns, and cutting-edge food science that have brought us to our current public health crisis, Hooked lays out all that the food industry is doing to exploit and deepen our addictions, and shows us what we can do to retrain our brains to change what we value in food and seize control of our health.
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